It’s hard to be objective about a game that came out nearly 20 years ago. It’s especially difficult when the game has had multiple generations to follow, with each iteration expanding and streamlining gameplay. Even so, the first generation of Pokemon did something that companies around the world strive to do: Create a phenomenon. This retrospective-Hot Take might come off a lot more critical than it has any right to be. These games are classics but they’re not without flaws, especially when looked at through the lens of modern gaming practices and culture.
- The re-release of Pokemon Gen. 1 (Red, Blue, and Yellow) is a nostalgia trip. With the original release Game Freak put together a package of fun game elements. The core battling mechanic is solid, and the typing options give a breadth of offensive strategies. The metagame is non-existent though.
- Walking is torture. Biking isn’t much better.
- Now that we’re reaching the 800(?) point with Sun and Moon, a roster of 150 seems downright minuscule. The recent release of Pokemon Go has highlighted that feeling. Having 150 Pokemon available in the mobile app means a lot of trainers have repeats (How many Pigdeot gyms do we need?!). 150 Pokemon makes team building options feeling limited even in the main-series games.
- Route 12, 13, and 14 seem like filler and break the game’s pacing. The first couple gyms are linked together with interesting pseudo-side-quests. This stretch is boring. I found myself riding my bike back and forth between Lavender town and the routes in the gauntlet of trainers waiting to annoy you.
- Yellow doesn’t have the easy Missigno glitch. I can’t make infinite TMs, Rare Candies, and Nuggets. It was frustrating because I can’t cheat my way to winning easy.
- Gary Oak. He’s a badass.
I can’t really say I have many other thoughts. Everything that needs to be said has been said in the short 20 years since their release. Gen. 1 will always have fans (Hello Genwunners). Old games will never have the hindsight of current game development practices. What Pokemon and Nintendo have is nostalgia, and maybe that’s all that matters here. To that, Gary Oak says “Smell ya later”.
Edit: I forgot to mention the new Pokemon Transfer functionality that will be added for Sun and Moon (Thanks Wiim for reminding me). You will be able to transfer Pokemon from Red, Blue, and Yellow to Pokemon Bank and then to whichever new game you want. The reason I am replaying Yellow in the first place is because I wanted the glitch Mew and to be able to bring my Gen 1 team over.
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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Find his sexy ass on Twitter here. Or keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here.